Earth Notes

The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s human and environmental treasures. Ancient cultures have called this land of sun-baked deserts and lush mountain landscapes home for centuries. Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Plateau by telling stories of the intricate relationships between environmental issues and our daily lives.

Rooted in science and wrapped in human interest, the two minute long segments encourage listeners to think of themselves as part of the solution to environmental problems. Upbeat and informative, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment, and motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of the Colorado Plateau.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

A series of rubbled hills runs alongside Highway 89 about thirty miles north of Flagstaff. They look fairly unremarkable, but really, they’re remnants of mines that once produced pozzolan.

Pozzolans are a class of silica- and aluminum-rich materials commonly derived from explosive volcanic deposits. The early Romans knew of their value, incorporating them into aqueducts and buildings. The word pozzolan comes from a town in Italy.   

Henry Grover

Wildfires have grown larger and more severe in recent decades. They strip the soil of vegetation and make it vulnerable to erosion and floods. But there’s hope for healing a landscape after it burns—and it comes from humble moss.

Kitchens all over the Southwest this time of year are filled with the irresistible scent of tamales steaming on the stove.

This Earth Note originally aired on KNAU December 25th, 2019.

Melissa Sevigny/KNAU

Everybody has a bear story in Durango, Colorado. Nearly three-quarters of residents there report at least one encounter with a black bear. They’re known to knock over trash cans, eat out of bird feeders and chow down on dog food. And these bear-human interactions are increasing.

Wikimedia Commons

Turkeys have been an important food staple in the Southwest for centuries. But the native varieties bear little resemblance to the plump turkeys of today.